Is this really what holidays cost??? I am shocked.

(43 Posts)
scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 14:32:45

Previously we've usually organised the individual elements of our holiday ourselves and prefer some sort of self-catering accommodation with access to a pool, and we've either flown or driven (according to where we're going). Last year we went to southern France for 11 days in August and it probably cost us a little over 2k, which I thought was a lot.

This year, with the DC getting older, we fancy going somewhere with a bit of sailing/windsurfing for them - we're not fussed about kids' clubs per se as when the weather's nice & there's water to swim in they're not too labour intensive (they're 10 & 12). So we reckoned a package with access to watersports might be just the thing. Except, Mark Warner for example is about 8k for 2 weeks!!!! WTF??? And other places charge similar.

Is this really what people spend on summer holidays? I can't believe it!

Bowlersarm Mon 20-Jan-14 14:37:12

Mark Warner is very very expensive. And third rate accommodation IMO!

youbethemummylion Mon 20-Jan-14 14:40:48

Mark Warner is expensive. Might be best off finding a resort where windsurfing etc is avsliable locally and just book a cheap SC deal and book the watersports locally.

ShadowOfTheDay Mon 20-Jan-14 14:45:56

people do not go to these sort of places for more than a week unless seriously wealthy....

you can do a week all inclusive in Turkey next to the beach with a waterpark type hotel for around £3k with someone like First Choice (I booked ours! for 2 adults+ 2 kids aged 11 and 13).... seriously good relaxing holiday with some "local culture" day trips out available too....

scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 14:46:57

That's exactly what we're going to try to do, yoube. Although locating local watersports facilities is proving to be a needle in a haystack job.

Other holiday companies are still 5, 6K. Also I had a bad experience with MW years ago when I was still single which still makes me wary of them.

Suttonmum1 Mon 20-Jan-14 15:04:03

I am also trying do this too. So far I have shortlisted
a new center parcs in Germany- has sailing and windsurfing.
Europa sailing on Lake Garda
Am still looking at lots of websites!!!
Also from previous investigations Rockley have a base in Western France that has ready tents or can take own camping stuff.

scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 15:09:32

DH won't camp.

I'm sure germany & lake garda are fabulous but I want as-guaranteed-as-possible hot weather. I'll have a look though - not discounting anything at this stage!

I looked at First Choice but it's 5k and you can't pre-book watersports - they cost extra too. Having said that, I know my DC would love all the on-site stuff. Not sure it's very me though… grin

youbethemummylion Mon 20-Jan-14 15:13:48

Would a privately booked villa be better for you, find a local watersports centre and cut out the (expensive) middle man.

youbethemummylion Mon 20-Jan-14 15:14:14

The S

youbethemummylion Mon 20-Jan-14 15:16:45

Ill try again. Trip Advisor is good for advise about whats avaliable locally there is usually a forum for most areas particullarly touristy ones where you can ask about watersports avaliability. I know surfers and windsurfers love Fueraventura.

scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 16:28:22

Yes, yoube, that would be perfect. I didn't think of TripAdvisor, thanks.

Look at this thread.
Extremes of camping in a box in a field for peanuts to £10000+ jobs.
Actually I think you've done well to fly abroad and stay for 11 days for 4 of you for £2000. Did that truly include everything?.
All inclusive does really mean that. Virtually no spending money.

scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 17:55:02

We drove, secret. It was probably a bit over 2k. Villa for a week was 1400 euros and we had 4 b&b stops. Plus petrol & tolls. I don't count food as we'd have to eat at home anyway! We don't eat out that much on holiday. We probably could have got a cheaper place than 1400 but where we were was v nice & spacious in a beautiful location with a supposedly shared pool but we had it to ourselves most of the time.

I always thought that packages were cheaper but seemingly not...

dannydyerismydad Mon 20-Jan-14 17:57:13

Look at Eurocamp - incredibly good value accommodation, and if you take the ferry and drive to your destination, travel there and back isn't expensive either.

If you don't count food, then it's not surprising you are finding AI expensive! Do you not drink more wine on holiday? smile

abear Mon 20-Jan-14 18:00:40

Ardeche region of France is great, very cheap compared with most areas and very good weather. There is a big gorge with lots of canoeing trips. You canoe down river to a pick up point and they take you back to your car where you started. There is a lot of self catering on sites like or owners direct. There are also a lot of beach areas on rivers with activities and lots of jumping off rocks which is free and seems to go down well. Definitely cheaper than Mark Warner but a lot more rustic.

BikeRunSki Mon 20-Jan-14 18:04:41

Watching with interest as I have been looking at holidays during school hols for the first time. Still quake ing with shock!

LeBearPolar Mon 20-Jan-14 18:06:48

We went to Zakynthos last year and St Nikolas beach in Vassilikos is dedicated to water sports of all kinds. You can also go scuba diving.

I would definitely go down the route of choosing a location with local water sports rather than looking for it all part of the package.

TheDrugsWorkABitTooWellThanks Mon 20-Jan-14 18:08:34

Try booking with 3 kids. Lovely AI we've been to before upped the price to £12 for a week when our youngest turned 3.

TheDrugsWorkABitTooWellThanks Mon 20-Jan-14 18:08:43


FreshCucumber Mon 20-Jan-14 18:17:02

We spend about the same on hol in France last year for all 4 of us. This was all inclusive (food and activities nearly everyday incl cannoning). And we didn't really go for the 'cheapest that you can find' type of hols either.

I agree it is easier to go somewhere where you now there are some water activities and then book something there and than doing the all inclusive stuff as it will usually incl stuff that you don't want/need hence more expensive.

thetravelbook Mon 20-Jan-14 18:17:11

Look at Alpine Elements

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:17:22

For the people that don't include much spending money in their holiday budget not eat very differently from at home or go out to bars in the evenings and days out etc. Or are they cheap places where you can still do all that? I'm curious as whenever I have tried self catering I always go way over budget.

FreshCucumber Mon 20-Jan-14 18:18:17

Actually sorry we spend less than the Op. Just above £1k rather than £2k but we were camping rather than having a hol cottage.

FreshCucumber Mon 20-Jan-14 18:20:48

We tend to do both creamy.
We eat similar than at home in some ways, completely different trying the stuff from the area (eg French cheese!!) and then go out for a nice meal a few times too. Main difference is that we don't just get a meal at lunch because we can't be bothered/don't have anything and do it nearly everyday but we go for the very nice restaurant, with local specialities a few times in the 2 weeks.

Lizzylou Mon 20-Jan-14 18:23:02

Have you looked at Neillson? We are going to Greece with them, all watersports included, lovely accommodation, all meals bar 3 evening ones per week, c £6k for a fortnight. They do Turkey as well.
Must say price still blew my mind after spending last few years keycamp/gites in France.

specialsubject Mon 20-Jan-14 18:23:04

Neilson are cheaper and better than Mark Warner, but can still be eye watering.

have a look at Seafarer or Ocean Elements, lesser known, may be cheaper. The kit, safety and staff do add up though.

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:26:32

Thank you FreshCucumber.

Creamycoolerwithcream Mon 20-Jan-14 18:33:17

If you were to go for Mark Warner I suggest a week for the first time to see if you like it. I went on five when my two youngest were pre school age and my eldest a young teen because they worked well for us as a family. I thought I did get my money worth because I water skied each day, learnt to sail, my husband learnt to sail and wind surf and DS1 did all that and had lots of people to hang out with. The main disadvantage is everyone is British and the conversation seems to be a bit where do live, work, send your DC to school etc? I just switched of from all that.
For a cheaper option I think Magic Life hotels are good value for the amount of activities they offer.

Suttonmum1 Mon 20-Jan-14 19:14:20

Take a look at Rockley. You can book own accommodation, it is drivable, west coast of France far enough down to guarantee weather. £360 per week for 5 day course, 25% less for second week ie about £70 per day per person for instruction and hire. Or £290 for 3 day course. They do RYA certificates, and operate from Poole over here too.

I would be choosing this one if we weren't restricted to a week and the family weren't hankering to go somewhere other than France.

Just checked the campsite website and they do mobiles
€ 806-995 per week in August

scampadoodle Mon 20-Jan-14 20:36:22

travelincolour I wasn't looking particularly at AI - would prefer not, tbh - but the kinds of activities we wanted seemed to point to it. We don't go out to bars in the evenings (who babysits??) and tend not to stay in towns so it's just easier to cook for ourselves. And yes, I do drink wine but not that much more than at home and wine's a lot cheaper abroad!

Re Neilson: yes, have been with them before, years ago, & they were great but it was a freebie not in peak season and 6k still gives me 'seeing the vicar naked' face.

Lots of good suggestions here though that I will definitely research, although DH really, really won't camp, or caravan.

ihatethecold Tue 21-Jan-14 21:34:03

Alpine elements offer what your after.
I looked for 1 week for 2 adults and 2 older kids in Greece.
Cost was about £4k in August.
All sports were included.

Theonlyoneiknow Tue 21-Jan-14 22:20:17

abear where did you stay in the Ardeche?

Suttonmum1 Wed 22-Jan-14 10:11:18

Many thanks to Specialsubject for her reference to Seafarer. Have just booked a week in Levkas with them. Less frills than the big companies but has everything we need.

Beastofburden Wed 22-Jan-14 10:16:16

I find Spain is much cheaper than France. Have you looked into that?

Annebronte Fri 24-Jan-14 18:55:49

How about a villa/hotel in Dubrovnik? Plenty of water sports available on Banje Beach and heaps of other stuff too. You can take v short ferry to island opposite where people jump from the rocks into the sea (was safe, honestly!). We did a great sea kayaking trip. All sorts to do. Jet2 fly there and I expect Easy Jet etc do too.

principalitygirl Mon 27-Jan-14 22:55:59

Just to say that Lake Garda is very hot, albeit with the odd rain shower. Stunning views, great watersports, fabulous food etc. Give it some thought?

principalitygirl Mon 27-Jan-14 23:00:59

Look at Crystal summer? We stayed here in Riva del Garda:

What about Lake Annecy in France too?

Alpine / Ocean Elements is another company to look at but they're more basic/budget IME but with v nice food even so.

Lovage Tue 28-Jan-14 16:53:35

We don't spend much more on food on hols than at home because we don't go out for meals much. Mainly cos we are veggie and mostly go to France where finding veggie food is quite difficult. It is possible, but it's not really a treat that's worth the expense when you've had your fifth omlette-frites-and-no-other-options! Also, shopping in markets and little shops and even big hypermarkets is part of the fun of being Abroad for me, and I like cooking. I do simpler food than at home, more salads and fresh fruit and stuff but I don't think it costs much more than the way I cook at home. We do drink a lot more wine, but it's much cheaper than at home when you are buying it direct yourself!

BranchingOut Wed 29-Jan-14 21:05:47

I was hotter than I've ever been my life once in a hotel in Lake Garda. We were so hot (flat roof on the room) that we actually left the next morning.

principalitygirl Wed 29-Jan-14 21:49:00

Yes Branching, our air con was needed in Lake Garda!

We've just booked Mark Warner for a week in June, more for the activities than the accommodation. We've done Sunsail once before a few years ago. That was lovely but we got a v cheap early season deal. Mark Warner was reasonable for us but we have a tiny so can avoid school holidays.

TheABC Wed 29-Jan-14 22:18:09

We had a great time with active adventures (lanzarote, but they have other sites). Definitely less than 8k and you can choose self catering or full board options.

angeltulips Wed 29-Jan-14 22:39:09

i'd try portugal for good windsurfing & cheaper accommodation costs - just go self-catering

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